Ask Brian Dillon about his primary jobsite tool, and he won’t name a piece of equipment. Neither will his crews, or anyone else at U.S. Lawns in Waco, TX. Since implementing his first U.S. Lawns Customer Satisfaction Surveys a few months ago, Brian has made them his top priority. And the results have surprised even him.
“Customer Surveys changed the way I do business,” Brian states simply. “They’ve helped me keep contracts and earn referrals. They allow me to better manage my team. Of every tool the Home Office has given us, Customer Surveys have helped the most.”
Brian has never been complacent about customer satisfaction. He’s got a 90 percent retention rate, which originally made him disinclined to use the survey at all. But then, he realized he didn’t know why some clients left and others stayed.
“Most of the time, you think everything’s good. But then, someone will just give you 30 days. Usually, that’s about price, but you don’t always know.”
So, Brian gave his customers a satisfaction survey; and he found something unexpected. Property managers who seemed happy actually had real complaints. Brian realized his previous method of gauging satisfaction had been largely guesswork.
“What I learned is that people won’t tell you the bad stuff when you’re face to face,” he explains. “They don’t feel comfortable telling that story unless they’re in the privacy of their own office.”
After Brian received some negative feedback on his team’s communication, he sat down with his clients and pledged to resolve the issue. Next, he went to his crew leaders, and together they devised a better work system. After a while, Brian sent out a second survey.
The scores from previously dissatisfied clients were higher than ever.
“That’s when I asked my customers if I could survey them once a month,” Brian recounts. “I wasn’t sure, because I thought they’d be annoyed by that much email. But surprisingly, most of them said yes.”
Brian’s willingness to listen to basically happy customers, work hard, and make them exceptionally happy customers, has paid off for everyone. Referrals began rolling in from one apartment manager to the next, and Brian found his testimonials made an incredibly effective sales tool. In fact, he’s acknowledged that his clients are actually selling for him—which takes the burden off his team.
In addition, monthly surveys have created a standard of accountability for Brian’s crews. If a customer is unhappy with work on a jobsite, it only takes four weeks for Brian to find out.
“As an owner, you can’t be on the job every day. But Customer Surveys allow my clients to report back to me, so that really helps me,” he says.
Not everyone likes giving Customer Satisfaction Surveys. Brian knows that, and he concedes that it may not be as beneficial to every franchise. But he does believe that not using the tool at all would be “foolish.”
“It’s hard to fix what’s already good. But you can always fix what needs improvement.”
For Brian, knowledge is power. And he’s powered up his business to reach the next level.